The Philippines’ ranking in women in business report fell to 5th from 1st in 2018, but Filipinas still remained the highest among women holding senior management positions in Asia and stayed above average globally, according to the latest Women in Business 2019 study.

The Grant Thornton International Ltd.’s Women in Business 2019 report revealed New Zealand topped in this year’s list with 43.90 percent of women in senior management positions followed by Australia, Nigeria and Botswana.

The Philippines at 5th place showed that Filipinas compose 37 percent of senior management teams of companies in the country. Rounding the top ten are Vietnam, Germany, Ireland, Turkey and Russia.

According to the report, the drop in the Philippines’ global ranking was due to a 10 percent decline in the percentage of Filipino women in senior management from 47 percent last year. The dip did not yet take into account the government’s recent measures to provide flexible working arrangements for women.

Nonetheless, Marivic Españo, P&A Grant Thornton Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, has noted that Filipinas still play significant roles in their organizations. The top three roles of Filipino women in business are as Human Resources Director (75 percent of organizations whose leaders were interviewed or surveyed), Chief Finance Officer (66 percent), and Chief Operating Officer (53 percent).

Filipino businesses are taking different measures to improve or preserve the gender balance in leadership teams. Among these initiatives are ensuring equal access to development work opportunities (70 percent), providing mentoring and coaching (66 percent), and enabling flexible working (56 percent).

Even with such measures, however, women leaders need to take action. In the Philippines, female executives cite lack of access to developmental work opportunities (55 percent), finding time alongside core job responsibilities (51 percent), and caring responsibilities outside work and lack of access to networking opportunities (both at 47 percent) as barriers that have stopped them from acquiring the skills and attributes to be successful at their roles.
The percentage of businesses globally with at least one woman in senior management has risen to 87 percent, an increase of 12 percent in the last year. Based on data from the global survey, publicly owned companies are almost twice as likely to have women in senior management positions.

Overall, women now hold 29 percent of senior leadership positions globally. While this is only up 10 percent over the past 15 years of research, half of this increase (five percent) has been achieved in the last 12 months alone.

Francesca Lagerberg, global leader, Grant Thornton International says: “These figures are incredibly encouraging and a strong indication that gender parity is starting to be taken seriously by businesses. External factors, such as increasing organizational transparency, gender pay gap reporting, and highly visible public dialogue like the #MeToo movement appear to be making businesses wake up to the change that is needed.”

While the number of women in senior leadership is increasing, gender parity at the head of the table is still a significant way off. When it comes to the role of the CEO or managing director, only 15 percent of businesses globally have a woman leading the business.


As published in Manila Bulletin, dated on 04 March 2019